I’m Kind of a Big Deal – April 18, 2024

Thursday, April 18

Devotional written by Brian Williams, Community Engagement Pastor



“It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”
Philippians 1:15-18a

Read Proverbs 18:12 & 1 Corinthians 3:1-9


For some time now, I’ve equated those preaching the gospel out of envy and rivalry spoken of in the letter to the Philippians with the false teachers Paul condemns when writing to the Colossians and Corinthians (2 Cor 11:1-5). I didn’t quite grasp who and what Paul was talking about in this passage, so I ignored it. But praise be to God who opens eyes and conveys insight and wisdom. Now, I see that the folly of these people preaching out of rivalry and envy can be on the threshold of our hearts even when false teaching is far from our lips.

There is an unholy, yet natural to humanity, propensity to jockey and compare and want to be better than others – or at the very least be perceived as better or more important than others. This prideful propensity is not reserved for the evil people out there but resides in all of us, even those who call Jesus Lord and proclaim His gospel. You may crave honor in whatever social sphere you are in, but that is God’s to convey, not yours to grab.

Some preached the gospel faithfully and truthfully yet did so to gain notoriety and prominence among the churches, rather than out of love for others and the Lord. Surely, they did not enter faith this way, but somewhere along the way, they succumbed to their envy of people like Paul. They saw him as an obstacle to their personal objectives rather than a teammate in the great objective of the church. Their pride, however, hidden from their own eyes, diminished their testimony and caused heartache to others within the church. They wanted to be a big deal and used the preaching of the gospel to elevate themselves. All the same, God is merciful and uses their work for His glory, whether it is pure motives or not.

Action: Why do you preach the gospel? Why do you share with or serve others in the Lord’s name? If you are proud or desire prominence, repent of it. Grieve over it before the Lord and ask Him to remove any root of false humility and pride from you.

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